Council is asked to receive the Executive Reports from the Leader and Cabinet and to deal with any questions raised by Members to the appropriate Cabinet Members on the contents of the reports.
To receive announcements from the Leader and, in accordance with Paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, to deal with any questions to the Leader and/or Portfolio Holders on any topic which is within the jurisdiction or influence of the Council and is relevant to their Portfolio. Any Member who poses a question will be entitled to ask one supplementary question on the same topic.
Members are encouraged to give 24 hours’ written notice of questions to the Monitoring Officer of questions to be raised under the Agenda Item. If no notice is received, then the Portfolio Holder can reserve the right to give a written answer. Where written notice of questions has been given, these will be taken first. Should a Member wish to ask more than one question, questions should be listed in order of priority. If more than one Member sends in a question, these will be taken in alphabetical order of Members’ names, alternated from meeting to meeting. Each question and each response is restricted to three minutes.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Giles Archibald, addressed Council and began by asking Members to mark the one year anniversary of the start of lockdown and expressed his thanks to officers for enabling virtual meetings to be run efficiently and Opposition Leaders for their support and integrity over the last year. Councillor Archibald highlighted the commitment of the Council to do whatever had been asked of them to support the community through a difficult period and thanked all Members for a herculean effort. The Leader of the Council made reference to the difficulty faced by the community during the last year and thanked the Chief Executive and Officers for the amazing work done throughout this challenging period.
In accordance with paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following written question had been submitted to the meeting:-
From Councillor Matt Severn to Councillor Suzie Pye, Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder - Please can you update us on plans to strengthen the financial resilience of the people of our district; and also update us on the Poverty Truth Commission?
Councillor Suzie Pye responded, highlighting the work of Building Financial Resilience Group, a multi-agency partnership group which South Lakeland District Council hosts. She informed Members that the activities of the group had largely been covered by the existence of the South Lakeland Community Resilience Group over the last year which had been responding to the Covid pandemic. She emphasised the declaration of a poverty emergency that had been made by the Council in October 2020 and referred to her desire to launch a poverty truth commission (PTC) for the South Lakes.
Councillor Pye detailed the process of setting up a PTC which involved requesting expressions of interest which had generated great deal of interest. She informed Members that after the start-up group begins to meet, the next stage is to recruit commissioners who had lived experience of poverty.
In concluding her response, Councillor Pye agreed to keep Members informed of the progress being made and emphasised the impact of poverty on the community and explained that people in poverty should be thought of potential contributors to society. She ended by stating that the aim of the PTC was to take steps towards shifting the narrative surrounding poverty and enabled those who live in poverty to have a voice.
From Councillor Malcolm Lamb to Councillor Phillip Dixon, Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio Holder - In anticipation of an expected surge in visitor numbers to the District as lockdown restrictions are eased, what preparations are being made for the provision of car parking and toilet facilities whilst maintaining Covid secure measures? With increased visitor numbers inevitably there will be increased littering, will there be any special measures in place for extra uplifts of litter from tourist hotspots and around pop-up campsites and car parks?
Councillor Dixon responded, recognising that for those who live within the Lake District National Park, there are huge potential problems associated with the increase in tourism numbers. He assured Members that the Tactical Visitor Management Group (TVMG) had been meeting, co-ordinated by the Police, with the key players as the Lake District National Park Authority, the Council and the National Trust involved in the group which had come up with a list of measures including:-
· Looking to increase parking enforcement in the Lakes;
· Signage to be installed with litter bins being placed in the car parks;
· The Enforcement Team and Marshalls would be active across the area;
· Co-ordinating with local community groups to organise litter picks with the Locality team leading on this;
· Re-commissioning of the toilets in Ferry Nab car park to be re-opened by the 29 March 2021;
· Braithwaite Fold Car Park being extended by an approximate 60 spaces;
· Increase in litter collection;
· A focus on preventing littering with signage and bins being installed; and
· Requesting the Cumbria County Council place signage on the Plumgarth’s roundabout to request that visitors use the Crook Road to enter the Lake District.
Councillor Dixon concluded by informing Members that the TVMG would be meeting on a weekly basis to deal with any issues and advised Members to speak to the Locality Team if they wished to raise any issues.
In responding to a question relating to the whether Marshalls would be assisting with any pop-up campsites and car parks, Councillor Dixon advised that these locations should be under the owners guidance in order to monitor and manage the sites.
From Councillor Helen Ladhams to Councillor Dyan Jones, Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder - Could you please give us an update on the Greening Campaign, such as how many groups have taken up this campaign and has it been interrupted by the lockdown or the Covid restrictions?
Councillor Jones responded, highlighting that there had been over a dozen people who have taken up the scheme so far with one of these taking up a larger group to receive extra funding. She informed Members that the campaign was growing in popularity and that advice would be available for groups as we move out of lockdown and directed officer to speak to the relevant officer should they want any further information.